Globally, we have come a long way. From our Neanderthal and nomadic days to present day evolution. We have harnessed science and become slaves of our own technological makings. Altogether, we are living, breathing, connecting, reacting and fighting. All said and done, the one thing we have not understood is gender – its divisions, strengths, limits, and the like.
For instance, most people across the world are enthralled by the fact that God created the sexes – that there are men, women and other genders. And we are all human beings and deserve equal rights and opportunities. They are so consumed and intimidated by the idea of this division that they cannot wrap their simple brains around reasonableness. For them, the female anatomy is an inexplicable ocean that terrifies, captivates and displeases (for some unsound reason) them.
For the uninitiated, this has been happening lately – in our neighbouring country Pakistan, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has drafted a proposal recommending that husbands should be able to “beat their wives”, but “lightly” – like a spank or a slap or two; maybe a pinch? We do not know, closely.
“A husband should be allowed to lightly beat his wife if she denies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires; turns down demand of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take bath after intercourse or menstrual periods”, the decree states.
Let us take a moment and marvel at the incongruity of this recommendation that reeks of insecurity and sexism. Thank the stars, the ‘courtly’ leaders used the word “lightly”. The men would have been misled otherwise, no?
Well, needless to say, the ruling drew flak not just from the women of Pakistan, but from across the world. There were many who daringly stepped forward with the hashtag #TryBeatingMeLightly. Not every man wants to hurt his woman. Not even lightly. But for those who do, here are Pakistani women’s responses to the regressive decree:
Adeeqa Lalwani: Digital storyteller: “#TryBeatingMeLightly, I’ll become the destruction you will never foresee.”
Farah S. Kamal: Education consultant: “#TryBeatingMeLightly and tell me if you would like yourself to be beaten up lightly?”
Amber Zulfiqar: Travel and lifestyle blogger: “#TryBeatingMeLightly and take a punch in the a**!”
Priyanka Pahuja: Product designer turned digital marketer: “#TryBeatingMeLightly and I’ll run a car over you with my 7 years of driving experience!”
These responses were a part of photographer Fahhad Rajper’s photo series, where women across all walks of life challenged men to beat them lightly.
These ladies fearlessly stated that they cannot be abused or exploited, not even ‘lightly’. And this is what we think about this degenerating diktat that is shamelessly biased and illogical – women are not pets that can be tamed by violence. They are winds of fury that can devastate your lives in a fraction of a second. Women do not need the validation of their husbands, their families or any casual leader of an unsystematic group.
This decree not only paints a poor picture of Pakistan, but also suggests that the country is not a safe haven for women. Do we want to be a part of such a civilization? Those who believe that they can have a throttlehold over the society by using violence as a weapon, are horribly, miserably wrong. If you really want to beat your woman, beat her at a game of chess, beat her with your wit, beat her with your humour. Beat her at karaoke and help beat her fears and insecurities. That is the kind of “beating” your woman will appreciate. The rest is distasteful and non-frightening. We have seen worse.